Mark Watches ‘Angel’: S02E03 – First Impressions

In the third episode of the second season of Angel, Cordelia has a vision of Gunn in distress and must protect him by herself. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Angel.

NO WHY DID I SAY THAT THE LAST EPISODE WAS THE BEST ANGEL EPISODE YET. THIS IS A LIE. IT IS 100% NOT TRUE. EVERYONE, HELP ME, THIS WAS ONE OF THE MOST SATISFYING EPISODES OF TELEVISION THAT I HAVE SEEN HELP ME.

This Is What I’m Freaking Out About

  • First of all, I don’t know if you’re aware, but J. August Richards told me that Gunn will marry me, and so you can imagine how much my heart swelled after watching this episode.
  • THERE ARE AN OVERWHELMING NUMBER OF PEOPLE OF COLOR IN THIS EPISODE, AND ANGEL IS GETTING REALLY FUCKING GOOD AT THIS. Like, I hate when a show is set in Los Angeles or New York or Chicago and everyone is white because THAT’S NOT THE DEMOGRAPHIC MAKE-UP OF THE CITY HAVE YOU NEVER BEEN THERE. While I admit that a few people in that house party scene looked a tad ridiculous, I used to live in South Central and THAT’S HOW EVERYONE DRESSED THERE.
  • At first, I though The Host was a flashback, and then I became overjoyed that he was in this episode, and then I was sad because I need an entire episode on him. He gives me life.
  • DARLA. OH MY GOD DARLA WHAT THE HELL.
  • Can I just say this.
  • I don’t care if it’s “controversial.”
  • (It probably isn’t.)
  • Darla and Angel had more chemistry in this episode than Buffy and Angel did over the course of three years.
  • LOOK I DON’T CARE. IT’S TRUE. And I think part of that is because I honestly think Julie Benz is a completely underrated actress. I ASKED FOR MORE JULIE BENZ. I RECEIVED IT IN THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE. 
  • Okay, look, I just adore the dynamic of the main cast now that Gunn’s been added. I am already so attached to these four characters, and watching them interact is just so pleasant. But in all seriousness, that’s a testament to the talent of these cast members and how well they’re written. It’s not easy to build chemistry like this, and this show has done that in very little time.
  • AHAHAHA I HAD FORGOTTEN ABOUT DAVID NABBIT. My god, he is so wonderful. HE WORE A PURPLE CAPE TO FIGHT DEMONS. Bless his heart.
  • Oh, so this is an episode examining the violent and harsh demeanor that Gunn’s developed in order to survive? And this is purposely contrasted with Cordelia’s middle/upper-class sensibility? And it’s all a very clear reference to Jane Austen? Well, you couldn’t make one episode more appealing to me. You just couldn’t.
  • Shawn Ryan, who wrote this particular episode, does a good job of showing us that while Gunn’s approach certainly leaves a lot to be desired in terms of his attitude, it’s not without its justification. This episode respects that Gunn has had an incredibly difficult life, especially the last six months. That little slip he has where he calls Veronica by his sister’s name is just one of the most subtly heartbreaking things this show has ever done. He is going to be haunted by that for a long time, and he blames it all on the fact that he let his guard down. Why risk making that same mistake again, especially after Veronica nearly died because of it?
  • DEEVAK IS SO UGLY.
  • The pink helmet. That little smirk when Wesley compliments Angel after Angel puts it on. Help me I CAN’T.
  • No, you don’t get it. I LOVE THAT THIS EPISODE IS ABOUT THE COLLISION OF CLASS AND RACE. It absolutely would not work without it, and I fucking adore that Shawn Ryan includes so many explicit references to the fact that Cordelia can’t truly understand what the experience of being poor and non-white at the same time is like. That doesn’t mean Cordelia doesn’t have anything to offer Gunn, or that she can’t legitimately help him, because that’s truly what this story is about.
  • OH MY GOD JAMEEL WAS DEEVAK I DID NOT GUESS THIS AT ALL.
  • Why is watching Angel smack a vampire with that pink helmet so satisfying? Who cares? I won’t question it.
  • You know, I don’t comment often on the fighting, but that final fight is just so cool to me. I guess I take the fight scenes for granted some times on both Buffy and Angel because they’re in every episode. But damn, Deevak’s death was AWESOME.
  • Here’s what I like about the story between Cordelia and Gunn: this is not even really about Gunn being nicer. Yes, Cordelia has a change of heart at the end of season one, and I think that’s a huge reason why she’s going out of her way to be a more caring person. In a way, “First Impressions” couldn’t have happened without the events in “To Shanshu in L.A.” But there’s a very specific thing that this story does with Gunn: it spells out that his path is one of self-destruction. Cordelia is not “saving” him from being an asshole. She’s trying to help him heal, and to me, that is such a critical writing choice to make. It’s why this story resonated with me so much. She’s saving the man from himself and his tendency to put himself in danger. Perhaps he really doesn’t care about his own life in an altruistic sense. But he might also not feel his own life or feelings are worth examining, so he’s reckless on purpose.
  • Basically, I’m excited for more of Gunn and Cordelia interacting.
  • WHAT THE FUCK DARLA IS REALLY IN ANGEL’S BEDROOM HELP ME I’VE GONE WRONG

That’s three FANTASTIC Angel episodes in a row. I AM JUST SO HAPPY WITH SEASON TWO SO FAR.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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